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Trump Tries to Observe Autism Awareness Day, But It's Pure Hypocrisy

#RedInstead 

CARLY CASSELLA
3 APR 2018

For the second year in a row, President Trump has lit the White House up blue for Autism Awareness Day, despite knowing very little about autism himself.

In the past, Trump has made his ignorance on the subject of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) unmistakably clear.

 

Despite unwavering scientific consensus on the safety of vaccinations, Trump has continued - time and time again - to perpetuate the myth that vaccines cause autism.

While meeting with educators at the White House last year, Trump insisted that autism was increasing among the population, despite being told repeatedly that it was not.

"So what's going on with autism?" he asked.

"When you look at the tremendous increase, it's really such an incredible — it's really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase. Do you have any idea?"

Later, Trump appointed Robert F. Kennedy, Jr to be the President's personal advisor on vaccines and autism and to lead a committee on vaccine safety.

 

Just to be clear, Robert F. Kennedy is not a doctor, nor does he have a background in medicine. He is also an outspoken anti-vaxxer.

Still, it's not just Trump's wilful ignorance that makes the White House's blue color hypocritical.

The "Light It Up Blue" campaign, which is organized by the non-profit Autism Speaks, has also been criticized in the past for misleading the public and misunderstanding autism.

The founders of Autism Speaks are "long-time" friends of President Trump, and for several years, their organization espoused anti-vaccination beliefs.

In 2009, the executive vice president of communications and awareness at Autism Speaks resigned in protest over the organization's belief that vaccines can cause autism.

Although Autism Speaks officially reversed its position on autism and vaccinations last year, the organization has also come under fire for having no autistic people on its board and for saying that autism has "stolen children" from their families.

Last year in an Autism Awareness Day statement, Trump offended the autistic community by making a similarly inconsiderate statement.

"My administration is committed to promoting greater knowledge of ASDs and encouraging innovation that will lead to new treatments and cures for autism," Trump wrote.

 

The idea of a "cure" is offensive to many autistic people, who do not understand their autism as a disease or a burden.

"After a decade of progress in which public conversations about autism have increasingly shifted away from tragedy and fear and towards acceptance and inclusion, the White House's actions signal a disturbing attempt to drag autistic people back to the margins," the Autistic Self Advocacy Network said last year.

This year, those with similar views are urging the public to ditch Autism Awareness Day for Autism Awareness Month, which has a much better track record.

The White House must have missed the memo.

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